The Ministry of Justice of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia has issued a detailed statement to the Landtag on the closure of the ITM focal point in Münster. In a letter dated 28 March, it stated:
“The reason published on the internet for the closure of the Institute for Information, Telecommunications and Media Law at the Westphalian-Wilhelms University of Münster (ITM) is then probably not so much a direct consequence of the amendment of the Lawyers’ Training Act with regard to the focal area studies. Rather, the reason for the discontinuation of specialisation 3 (ITM) at the law faculty of the Westfälische-Wilhelms University of Münster seems to be the lack of a subsequent appointment of a professor from public media law by the law faculty. Incidentally, according to publications on the internet, additional training in the field of digitalisation is being strengthened, which is precisely what the amendments to the Lawyers’ Training Act are intended to do.”
Unfortunately, we do not see ourselves in a position to continue teaching the ITM focus area in the long term. Instead, we will close the specialisation area 3/ITM after the transition period has expired.
On the one hand, the faculty has decided not to fill Mr Holznagel’s chair again with a successor who is versed in public media law. On the other hand, the new JAG leaves us too little leeway to adequately implement the special combination of research and teaching in the area of ITM in a priority area.
As a consolation, we can say that we will of course maintain the priority area for the transitional period (until the end of the summer semester 2023). Instead of the ITM focus area, we will strengthen the additional ITM training that has always been practised, for example through lectures and talks on AI and LegalTech. This will also make it possible for students in Münster to pursue existing interests in this research area during their studies.
In this new episode of the ITM Podcast, research assistants Owen Mc Grath and Nicolas John talk about the right of access for data subjects as set out in Article 15 of the GDPR and the possibility for data controllers to restrict or refuse access.
With the help of the central data subject right of European data protection law, it is possible for persons whose personal data have been processed to obtain information about these data and the circumstances of the processing. However, data processors (controllers) are not defenceless against this right. In the case of excessive requests for information, they may have a right of refusal. In particular, the conditions and possibilities of limiting or refusing access are the central topic of this episode.
The articles mentioned in the article can be found in DFN-Infobrief Recht 2/2022, DFN-Infobrief Recht 12/2020 and DFN-Infobrief Recht 6/2020.
Within the framework of a joint project of law students at Stellenbosch University and the civil law department of the Institute for Information, Telecommunications and Media Law at the WWU Münster, great things have been achieved in the past few weeks. With the creation of a comprehensive guide for artists, which provides answers to the most important legal questions in the everyday life of artists, the foundation stone was laid for the first branch of an “Art Law Clinic” in South Africa. Following the example of the interdisciplinary project that has grown up at the WWU and has enjoyed great popularity for four years now, a flourishing cooperation between art students and law students can now also develop in Stellenbosch.
The guide is based on various contributions by students at the South African university who voluntarily devoted themselves to current issues in South African copyright law out of personal as well as academic interest.
“The research field of art and copyright law has interested me for a long time due to its dynamic development. Especially against the background of the current copyright reforms in our country, I wanted to take the opportunity to become part of this new project,” reports a student from Stellenbosch University.
The cooperation was supported and led by Prof. Thomas Hoeren, head of the institute and an enthusiastic media and copyright lawyer.
“A substantive cooperation beyond the borders of national and European law was a great challenge, but at the same time an indispensable enrichment that sharpened our view of other legal traditions and the development of copyright in the world,” Prof. Hoeren summarises the project work.
A regular exchange between the two Art Law Clinics will also take place in the future in order to follow each other’s development and to benefit from the respective experiences.
It was an experiment: the new nationwide additional training on information and media law at the ITM/University of Münster. Free of charge, students and practitioners from all over Germany were able to attend the two courses on information law and media law by Professor Dr Thomas Hoeren and Professor Dr Bernd Holznagel. And even at a time and place of your choice, Zoom and YouTube make it possible. Now the two final exams have been written. More than 100 students from all over Germany, from Bremen and Bochum to Munich and Passau, attended the lectures and watched the relevant videos on YouTube. More than 30 participants then ventured into the exams, which, according to initial impressions, were solved with great originality and intelligence. Now the final seminar is coming up in the summer, which will lead the participants through the various ramifications of digital law virtually or, at their choice, analogue (this time even in Vienna). Next winter it will continue – hopefully with as many law students and practitioners as before.
Mr Lukas Moormann (Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration) gave a highly regarded lecture to the ITM on data protection in Austria on Monday, 7 February 2022. In front of the broad audience, he explained the constitutional foundations up to the ECHR. Then he described the legal process in matters of data protection, especially in constitutional matters. Finally, he discussed, among other things, data protection for legal persons. A successful lecture!
On Saturday 5 February 2021, the first workshop of the BMBF research network Fair data spaces took place with large participation of researchers from all over Germany. The main focus was on the intellectual property and data protection issues of the use of cross-border cloud platforms in the context of NFDI and GaiaX. The workshop took place as part of a three-day event of the law faculty on AI and law and was led by Professor Dr Franziska Böhm (KIT Karlsruhe) and Professor Dr Thomas Hoeren (ITM Münster). Among other things, they spoke about the new EU regulations in the area of data mining, the new provisions of the first drafts of the EU Data Act and the question of rights ownership in trade secrets. In terms of data protection law, the main topics were data protection issues in function creep, information as a basic concept of data protection law and the significance of codes of conduct in European data protection law. All these controversial topics gave rise to a lively dialogue and numerous questions from the audience. Our special thanks go to the speakers. We look forward to the next meeting.
On Monday, 31 January 2021, Prof. Dr. Dr. Frauke Rostalski gave a lecture on the question “Can AI replace humans in jurisprudence and the administration of justice?” as part of the focus lecture on information law. Professor Rostalski holds the Chair of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure Law, Philosophy of Law and Comparative Law at the University of Cologne and is a member of the German Ethics Council.
By way of introduction, Ms Rostalski problematised the problems of current case law, in particular the regional differences in sentencing for comparable offences, which jeopardise the acceptance of court rulings.
As a possibility of using artificial intelligence in jurisprudence, Ms Rostalski differentiated between simple decision-support software and the complete replacement of human application of the law by so-called “Iudex et machina”. Prof. Rostalski assessed the latter with regard to its efficiency and the lack of bias of artificial intelligence, but criticised the accompanying positivism, the lack of transparency and the resulting responsibility deficit.
The lecture was rounded off with an exciting discussion and Q&A session.
We would like to thank Prof. Dr. Dr. Rostalski for this exciting lecture and hope to welcome her again.